The Kansas City Royals decided to use the shortened season to their advantage when it came to their young pitchers. Lynn Worthy wrote an interesting piece for KansasCity.com gathering quotes from their pitching coach Cal Eldred. Directly from the article: “We got to take all of our pitchers in the organization, those on the 40-man roster and shift them back into player development,” Eldred said. “They had an opportunity when their arms were as healthy and felt as good and strong as they possibly could be to work on some of those things without the strain of, ‘You’ve just got to make it to the next start,’ or, ‘You’ve just gotta make it to the next outing and get outs.’ You can’t do that in a bullpen in between.”
The Royals already had a young and budding starter in Brad Keller but in 2020 they decided to call up both Brady Singer and Kris Bubic as well. Both of which hadn’t seen competition over AA ball. Both were bold moves and came with speculation but like Eldred said they had time to focus on development and these young Royals pitchers really improved as the season went on.
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Coming into the 2020 season when anyone would mention the Cleveland Indians rotation you would have automatically thought of Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, and maybe even Aaron Civale. No one thought anything of Zach Plesac. Yet here we are two and a half months later and Zach Plesac had an ADP of pick 79 in the “2 early mocks.” Plesac balled out in this shortened season pitching 55.1 innings with a 2.28 ERA and 24.8% K-BB%.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have a ton of depth in their pitching rotation and it’s certainly a reason for their consistent success. In terms of fantasy three of their young pitchers are intriguing options for 2021. Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, and Julio Urias are all popular names among the fantasy community. All of them are young, exciting, and have the potential to break out at any moment. Recently I put up an interesting poll on Twitter asking people who would they take first in a fantasy baseball draft. Side note: I included David Price in the poll but we will disregard that as I want to bring attention to the three I mentioned earlier. With over 1400 votes the results were somewhat surprising. Dustin May gathered 44.3% of the vote with Julio Urias nabbing second at 25.4%, and Tony Gonsolin came in third at 17.3%. Assuming all of them are healthy and in the rotation for 2021, let’s compare their 2020 numbers to each other.
For this fun exercise we are going to look into some pitchers who gained or lost velocity on their fastball. Usually a gain or loss in velocity could lead to a difference in performance. This season is a little tough because the question of the year is, were pitchers able to throw faster because they knew it was a short season? Or vice versa, did some of these pitchers lose their velocity because they didn’t have time to properly build up their arms? Or are they typically slow starters? Unfortunately these are questions that won’t be answered until the 2021 season begins. With that in mind let’s take a gander and these pitchers and what it could mean moving forward.
With only a two month season, it makes sense to look into pitchers who were gaining momentum in the final month. Of course, taking a small sample isn’t always ideal but perhaps a pitcher started to gain velocity, made a pitch mix change, or were just plain unlucky in the first month. These tangible changes could mean something and could hint at who will carry their success over into 2021.
Here are the top 30 ERA leaders in the last month:
This season, this short, crazy, and insane season has seen a lot of rookie pitchers. With all of these call ups this has been one of the more compelling MLB seasons we have seen in a long time. It seems like every week new pitchers are being called up to grab a spot start. Pitchers who haven’t even reached the AAA level are getting called up! This is the second and final part of analyzing some of these rookie pitchers, how they are performing, and what their future holds.
This season, this short, crazy, and insane season has seen a lot of rookie pitchers. With all of the call ups, this has been one of the more compelling MLB seasons we have seen in a long time. It seems like every week there are new pitchers being called up to grab a spot start. Pitchers who haven’t even reached the AAA level. Most importantly pitchers that we have been waiting a long time to see. There will be two parts to this article as we will analyze some of these rookie pitchers, how they are performing, and what their future holds.
The 2021 draft season will be interesting, to say the least. There has been an abundance of surprises when it comes to starting pitchers. For instance, Zach Davies, Corbin Burnes, Dallas Keuchel, Framber Valdez, and Adam Wainwright all have a sub-three ERA. What’s going to be strenuous for 2021 is figuring out who is “real” and who isn’t. How do we do that? Well, there are several factors such as a pitch mix change, movement changes on pitches, and velocity. With all that said there’s (at least) one pitcher performing well who seems to be legit. That pitcher is Pablo Lopez.
For those who don’t know, I started in this industry with a focus on streaming pitchers. By using various statistics for both pitchers and their opponents I have been providing advice to followers on who to stream in their leagues. What does streaming pitchers mean? Simply put it means grabbing a pitcher off your waiver wire for one start. You choose that pitcher based on matchup and skill hoping they provide you with decent ratios and then dump them back into the free-agent pool.
With that said it is important to know which pitchers are worth streaming in certain matchups. These pitchers typically aren’t good enough to keep on your team but could prove useful in the right matchup. This is important to know because this is a key factor in streaming successfully. For instance, no matter who Wade LeBlanc’s opponent is, you never want to take a chance on him. There is no strikeout potential, no ratio potential, and in his last three starts he has a 10.13 ERA.
For this piece I wanted to keep it under 10% in terms of rostered percentage. This way it ensures most if not all of the names below are available in your league.
SwStr% is a simple metric that is calculated by taking swings and misses and dividing it by total pitches. Why is SwStr% important? Simply put, if a pitcher can produce a bunch of swings and misses it means his strikeout rate should be high. The more strikeouts the better, because if you look at an elite pitcher in baseball you will see a high strikeout rate. It is well known that SwStr% correlates well with a pitchers strikeout rate. Want to know if a player’s K% is over or underperforming? Check out their SwStr%. The rule of thumb (although it isn’t exact) is to double a pitchers SwStr% and their K% should be around that number. Keep in mind some pitchers will be outliers if they consistently rely on called strikes, like Aaron Nola.
Let’s take a look at the SwStr% leaders so far this season.
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